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Kurds in Afrin

To fight with the Assad-Regime against the Turks "is less bitter“.

“The Kurds in Afrin don't have any other choice“ – A talk with Tengezar Marini.

  Jürgen Castendyk | 12.03.2018

There are different opinions among the Kurds about the democratic model in Afrin
The seemingly grass roots model of the Kurds in the three so-called cantons on the Syrian border with Turkey is not only evaluated positively.: The poet and journalist Tengezar Marini, born in Syrian Kurdistan, talked to me about his critical reflections on the subject. In his opinion, those responsible have a centralist and hierarchical thinking. They do not involve all Kurds in Syria in their decision-making. Due to the dramatic situation in the canton of Afrin, we stopped further discussions of political strategies. Instead, we focused on the background and consequences of the Turkish invasion.

Without the support of the Assad regime, the war over Afrin would have been lost by the Kurds

In conversation with Marini, the central question was why in Afrin the Party of Democratic Union (PYD) and its allies have asked the Assad Regime for military help. For him, there are historical reasons: Although the regime had expatriated from 1962 onwards up to about 150,000 Kurds indiscriminately. The division of the Kurds and the hatred between Arabs and Kurds were the political goals. Despite these repressions, the Kurds never interrupted relations with the Assad regime. Even in the cantons, there are facilities of the Assad regime to this day. In contrast to the Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK) in Turkey, the Syrian Kurds did not want their own state, reports Marini. Instead, a kind of federalism in northern Syria meant more autonomy for the Kurds. The Assad regime has supported the PKK since the early 1990s, even after the subsequent arrest of its leader, Abdullah Öcalan. The Syrian Kurds did not forget that. To ask for support from the Syrian army in Afrin would, in Marini's opinion, be politically correct if it led to the end of the Turkish invasion. It was “bitter, but it would be even more bitter to fight alone.” It was thought that the Assad regime could be a brake on the invasion of Turkey and its associated radical Islamic groups. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The fight against the Turkish army, without the support of the Assad regime, means for Marini “the downfall of the Kurds in Afrin.”

“The Turkish war against the Syrian Kurds is unlawful – and the world is watching”
When asked about American support, Marini became skeptical. Although American troops are stationed near the canton of Afrin in Manbij, the canton is not a point of American interest. It would be different if the Turks would advance in the direction of Rakka and Kobane. As American troops are stationed in Kobane and Kamischli, they would stop the advance.
Asked about European support, Marini's answer is terse: “Europe has no concept.”

Tengezar Marini has published 15 books as a poet
Tengezar Marini was born in 1959 in Tirbespi, Westrojava, in Syrian Kurdistan. Today his birthplace is located in the canton of Jazina. The border with Iraq is not far away. He has a special relationship with the city of Afrin. There he completed his military service and also studied at times. Other places of study were the universities in Damascus and Aleppo. In 1986 Marini came to Germany and studied journalism at the Universities of Braunschweig and Hannover. From 1997 to 2007 he worked as an editor at Radio Flora. He also organized numerous cultural projects, including: “Kurdische Kulturtage”, “Art-Literature-Music” (KuLiMu) and “Meine Stadt ist Vielfalt” – in cooperation with the IIK e. V.
Today he works as a social educator and interpreter in the state capital. Of the numerous books with poems, a volume has been published in German: “Sparks of the Mist”, published by IIK-Verlag Hannover.

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